ACLU lawsuit alleges APD officers racially profiled man at coffee shop

AURORA - The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado has filed a racial profiling lawsuit against the Aurora Police Department for allegedly forcing a black man to leave a coffee shop in March 2016.

The lawsuit alleges that Omar Hassan had ordered a muffin and sat down to eat at a Caribou Coffee in Aurora on March 16 when he was approached by two officers, Machelle Williby and Lisa Calcamuggio, and asked to leave for, what the suit alleges, was no good reason.

Aurora police told 9NEWS that they are aware of the lawsuit and disagree with the allegations. 

At the time of the incident, ACLU of Colorado says Hassan had just finished working his nightshift job and was dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, sweatpants and work boots.

The lawsuit states that the officers had their hands placed on their guns when they ordered Hassan to leave.

“Our client is the victim of unjustifiable racial profiling,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. “Police officers had no grounds, no basis, and no legitimate authority to order Mr. Hassan to leave the coffee shop.”   

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Here’s Aurora Police Department’s full statement on the incident.

The Aurora Police Department has recently been made aware of a lawsuit filed against two of our Officers by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU). The alleged incident took place on March 16, 2016 at an Aurora coffee shop.

The Aurora Police Department takes allegations of misconduct very seriously and Officers are required to maintain the high standard that is expected from members of our community.  For this reason, in 2016 the Aurora Police Department conducted a thorough internal investigation into this matter lead by the Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB).

Based on the findings of our 2016 internal investigation, we strongly disagree with the allegations brought against our Officers in regards to this incident.

Due to active civil litigation, the Aurora Police Department is unable to comment any further on the matter at this time.

You can read the ACLU complaint here: http://bit.ly/2y8Vnxc

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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